In general, the best practice to create a balanced, easy-to -maintain pond with a minimum of effort is to work with Mother Nature instead of against her. The following tips will help you achieve this goal.
Use aquatics, like water lilies and lotus, in the pond and marginal species, like irises and dwarf cattails in bogs, to help keep the pond sparkling clear and healthy. If you can either cover 60% of the surface of the water with plants or create bogs whose surface area adds up to about 30% of the pond's surface area, your pond's water will stay clear and clean on its own. You'll still have to circulate it and pull out dead vegetation, but maintenance will be minimal as long as you don't overfeed.
Create bogs along the pond's edge by excavating shallow shelves above water level and lining them so that all the water you pump into them will flow back into the pond. Fill them with only 4 to 6 inches of clean, washed gravel, kept from washing in by some larger stones, and set the plants directly from their pots into the gravel. The soil they're in will keep them alive until they can start to remove nitrates from the pond water. Install a tee on the main line, or put in a separate small pump to dump water from the pond into the planted gravel to create an active bog that will starve out algae and filter the water.
Plan, and plant, the pond area as part of a surrounding landscape. Don't just drop a hole in the lawn somewhere. A water source in nature will have aquatics in the water, marginal plants at the edges and various terrestrial species radiating out away from the water, which should tie in to the rest of the plantings on the site.
Keep the sides of the pond as vertical as possible down to a flat, level shelf about 18 inches deep all around the pond. This will allow you to get in and out of knee-deep water when necessary but discourage herons and raccoons from preying on your fish by denying them the beaches they love to wade in on. Avoid beaches to help eliminate string algae and mosquito issues, while the 18-inch-deep shelf is perfect for your water lilies to sit on.
Don't overfeed your fish. The most common mistake pondkeepers make is overfeeding. Those nutrients go into the water after they come out of the fish, and they'll feed lots of plants. If you don't have lots of plants, the nutrients will feed lots of algae.
Finally, follow the manufacturer's instructions.